On Our Dime

After yesterday’s post and poor installation on our bathtub surround we have decided to go a different direction. While frustration has gotten the better part of us, my wife I can’t believe we are the only people in our development who have experienced problems. In fact I know others have had issues with their new homes, but not sure what lengths they have gone to in order to resolve them. DeNova Homes probably views me as “that homeowner” when it comes to our expectations not being met, but taking our battle to social media, which has been effective, but hasn’t resolved the initial problem. We are pleased to be dealing with Lori Sanson, the Vice President of the company, who seems to have a vested interest in our problems and to resolve them.

After further discussion with my wife, we have decided to hire a professional contractor to do what DeNova’s sub-contractors seemingly can’t accomplish. After the initial tub surround installation and Thursday’s second attempt to replace the entire surround, we will remove and replace our master bathroom tub surround. Yesterday, I met with the individual who’s tasked with the job. As he measured and discussed what he was going to do, he was appalled by the poor job that Marble Palace did to replace the e-stone walls. Measurements confirmed the fact the walls weren’t even and one piece of e-stone is cut too short. As for this upcoming demolition and replacement, my wife and I are going to foot the bill for the repairs.

Fair to us as homeowners? Not the least, but we are tired, disappointed and frustrated to the point of anxiety of getting things accomplish and want to start enjoying the house. It’s only been 8 months since I brought this issue to DeNova Homes prior to the close of escrow, at which point I was told it would be taken care of. Since March 17, the bathtub surround has gone from bad to worst to unacceptable! This latest installation of the tub surround, as I highlight yesterday is terrible! I would like to think that my friends and other DeNova homeowners in similar situations wouldn’t accept the work and seek to resolve the ongoing tub surround issue.

As of today, my wife has not received any phone calls from Ms. Sanson, nor have I received a reply from her. However she did text the warranty manager and voiced her displeasure. It appears we will have another visit by DeNova Homes to see the work accomplished before they decide to move forward. For us, demolition begins Tuesday morning, regardless if DeNova Homes has been to view the tub surround or not. We don’t want to wait any longer to get the tub surround professional tiled.

Another Round with DeNova Homes

“Enjoy the home.” “Have a housewarming party.” Just two comments that still linger in my mind after the purchase. These were communicated to me, by my realtor, after numerous emails to DeNova Homes and some scathing comments made on this website. Unfortunately, here we are nearly 8 months later and we are still in a battle with #dontbuydenova to get our home to the level of satisfaction it should have been at when we closed escrow. At the center of the frustration, the master bathroom tub surround. This one area continues to draw attention because of the poor craftsmanship used to construct it.

Early this year there came a point where DeNova Homes offered to buy the home back. While their offer wasn’t satisfactory, they suggested to remove and replace the engineered stone with tile. Unfortunately their settlement agreement didn’t favor us and released DeNova Homes of future liability, under advisement from an attorney friend we did not accept the offer. Most recently, the offer finally came to replace the engineered stone surrounding the bathtub. This was what we asked for before we even closed escrow.

Why it’s taken countless visits from their warrant manager, the Director of Operations and the Vice President of the company is beyond me. This issue continues to cost DeNova Homes more time and money and still there has been no resolution. Without warning, Marble Palace, the company contracted to do the repairs showed up a few weeks back without advanced notice, saying they were going to replace the tub surround. After about 30 minutes, I noticed they were packing up. It seemed half of the shower would need to be removed in order to accomplish the repairs. Their supervisor told them to stop the repair, they packed up their tools and left. An email was sent to the warranty manager who replied, ” Nothing was supposed to happen until they discussed the repair process so that I could provide additional assistance if need be.”

On December 1 I received an email from the warranty manager who would “schedule the final repairs for next Thursday the 8th. The arrival time will be between 8-12am.” I agreed and yesterday, while at work numerous contractors arrived to work on the outstanding issues. Kitchen cabinets were repaired and the trim was replaced. Many tiles on the kitchen and dining room floor that sounded hollow were removed, replaced and grouted.

Then there is the bathtub surround. *shakes head* Going back to a discussion I had with one of the sales associates regarding our house, she contacted the construction superintendent (real arrogant prick!) who mention to us the pony wall in the master bathroom was built incorrectly but not to worry, as it would be fixed before we moved in. Surprisingly that never happened, which in my mind has been part of the problem we have had with the tub surround. The initial complaint was a chipped piece of engineered stone on the tub surround wall. Contractors attempted to smooth it out, but it was quite evident the wall needed to be replaced. Instead of replacing the wall, they shortened the wall, so it didn’t match up with the other two walls. I won’t mention again just how poor the installation was, but it was not acceptable. While DeNova’s Director of Operations and warranty manager didn’t agree, we were fed up, which resulted in an email to the president.

Nearly all the work on the tub surround yesterday happened while I was at work, so I didn’t have an opportunity to see the actual construction of the wall behind the drywall. There was a plumber on sight who removed the hardware. The marble contractors removed the e-stone, but not really sure how, can only assume they cut portion of it with a saw and demoed the rest with a hammer. The drywall contractor then rehung new drywall. The last piece of e-stone was being cut and fitted into the plumbing wall when I walked in. Honestly, I didn’t pay close attention to the detail how how the install looked. Even if I did, I would not have said anything to the contractor. Now, after the fact I will saw NEVER use Marble Palace, this sub-contractor is terrible, not once but twice!

If that wasn’t enough, the house was filled with tile dust, dirt, pieces of concrete and all sorts of shit that could have been avoided if the marble installers would have run some plastic to contain their mess. Unfortunately they didn’t and my wife spent the better part of Friday cleaning the house because of their work.

When I finally got around to checking the tub, which we were told not to use for a few days in order to let the e-stone set, it was readily apparent problems still existed. Shaking my head, I could only stand there in awe wondering how Marble Palace saw this as an acceptable installation? Corners weren’t squared on the walls, the window sill was nearly three quarters of an inch lower than the walls surrounding the tub and instead of seeing the walls all overhanging the tub, now only part of the wall was hanging over the tub, while the opposite side was flush with the tub. Again, it’s UNACCEPTABLE work!

As of this writing, there has been no contact with DeNova Homes directly, however I did compose an email and send it to the Vice President…again. It really appears she is taking a vested interest in our well being, unlike the warranty manager, who doesn’t seem to really give a f*ck. My wife and I appreciate the fact she is involved, maybe her involvement will spur some changes to what they got away with when they finished our home.

Commitment to Quality and Integrity

qaJust because you haven’t see the #denovahomes or #dontbuydenova, let that not lull you into believing all is well and good at DeNova Homes Emerson Ranch out in Oakley. We are still very frustrated and disappointed with DeNova and their “commitment to quality and integrity” as their mission statement claims, falsely. Every day seems to bring another new problem, albeit some minor, but a problem is a problem and needs to addressed. So my thinking goes, DeNova seems to believe otherwise. We have had DeNova workers and contractors shuffling in and out to repair or replace items on our punch list, a list that has decreased in size, but still has outstanding issues, yet unresolved.

To date, now 90 days since closing on our new home I have sent 5 service requests, totaling 89 unacceptable items that we feel need to be addressed. These are all items that fall under “quality control,” which seems there was a lack of between final construction and our purchase of them home. The question now becomes, what do we, as new homeowners do? I have spoke to a few other owners on our street, some who have similar issues and a difficult time getting a hold of the warranty manager to take care of them. I have also received feedback on this site from others who feel the way we do. It seems there is underlying theme when it comes to “quality and integrity,” neither of which DeNova Homes seems to have.

I have taken it upon myself to compose an e-mail to Dave Sanson, owner of DeNova Homes to see what, if any, response we will get. Maybe I am overstepping a few individuals on the management team, but 60 days has expired since our purchase and maybe, sometime in the near future we might actually get to enjoy our home. All we want to see happen is have our problems resolved, at no cost to us. Nearly everything on our punch list are items that should never have made that list if our home were built with “quality and integrity.”

Aside from using #denovahomes and #dontbuydenova on anything I post on social media, I just want to warn other potential homeowners of just what we have gone through. Maybe we are the minority. Maybe the house is just a damn lemon. Regardless, bringing attention to potential issues could possible save another potential buyer to think twice before committing to DeNova Homes. Here’s a copy of the letter I sent to the CEO of DeNova Homes.

Mr. Sanson,
Your mission reads, “respected builder” and “commitment to quality and integrity” but it took less than 30 days after purchasing our DeNova home to regret our decision, as we have been faced with disappointment, frustration and anger since since closing on Aspen-216, March 17, located in Oakley. City Manager and college friend, Bryan Montgomery provided your email and suggested I contact you regarding our DeNova Homes buying experience.
Initially I was highly impressed when my wife told me she was considering a new home located at Emerson Ranch, the thought never crossed my mind to purchase new. The sales people were warm, welcoming and friendly, allowing us to view the models and answer all our questions. Viewing the models excited us with the prospect of getting in to an all new development during the early phase. We decided to write a $5000 check to hold an unfinished model. That’s where the excitement ended.
Problems began prior to the sale, after DeNova Homes got our commitment to buy and deposit check, as the sales people were not completely clear on what was included with the purchase, from window treatments to sealed grout. One of the sales people even said, “I’ve only been here 2 weeks, I don’t know the answer to that.” Some questions went unanswered, others were referred to the construction superintendent who’s response was, “don’t worry about it.” We were continuously reminded, as we walked through the different stages of construction that the home was not complete yet. Unfortunately, when it was completed the finishing was nothing short of unacceptable!
As of June 16, I have sent 5 service requests, my wife and I dealing with Warranty Manager, Kevin Maloney, who hasn’t been the most responsive individual when it comes to resolving our problems in a timely fashion. The first 4 service requests sent to DeNova listed 63 items! It was nearly 6 weeks later until a DeNova representative and crew arrived to work on our list. Nearly all the items on our list were finishing work, but what made it worse was the lack of quality in the craftsmanship in our new home. One needs to look no further than our master bathroom tub, as it represents the lack of quality through out the entire house. It became obvious the “quality and integrity” was not what we purchased. We were even told by DeNova, “you did not purchase a custom home.” Talk about demoralizing and frustrating when you spend $484,500 only to realize your problems aren’t going to be resolved.
I wish I could say I look forward to coming home after a day of work, but honestly the only thing I look forward to, is when we see a ‘SOLD’ sign in the front of this house. I guess we set our expectations too high and to this point they have not been met. We love Oakley, but don’t love the problems, frustration and disappointment we continue to face with DeNova Homes. Never again will I set foot in a DeNova Homes property or consider purchasing another new home. After our experience, I have nothing positive to say about what we have gone through and will let others know not to consider DeNova Homes, as they care about making the sale and not making a happy homeowner.
Please feel free to contact me regarding our problems and experience.
Stephen Toumi & Christal Davis
Homeowners, Aspen-216


I have no expectations at this point, I just want to vent my disappointment, frustration and anger and thankfully, this being America I can do that, even if it’s to the CEO of the company. Time will tell if we get a reply, to this letter or our 5th service request we submitted. Just remember, if you are considering purchasing a DeNova Homes property, please heed the #dontbuydenova and consider looking elsewhere.

#dontbuydenova: The Saga Continues

dontbuydenovaDeNova Homes followed through as scheduled, we had a three man crew at our home April 26 and 27 to start working on our punch list (catch up on the continuing sage, here). Many items on the list were paint related, but the overall finishing was very poor quality, appearing to be a rush job by some low bid contractor. Rumor has it that contractor was no longer painting homes in the Apsen development.

Now a month later and we have yet to see or hear back from Kevin, the warranty manager or DeNovaHomes on the rest of our list. This doesn’t come as a surprise, neighbors have similar complaints when I speak to them. Yes, I understand there are other developments, hopefully other owners who are as pissed off as we are when it comes to their new home. What we have seen appeared to a step in the right direction, not enough to give DeNova Homes kudos for making us happy to have purchased one of their homes.

While not the typical way to get things done, my wife has been texting Kevin regarding ongoing issues since last month. The next warranty date on the schedule is the 90 day warranty. While the remaining items on my list will be carried over, I don’t expect much movement from DeNova to resolve any of them. Some of the current list items addressed, such as paint on the carpet remain, worse we now have discolored spots from someone attempting to clean the carpet. *shakes head*

I don’t fear what I visually see, poor finishing, poor paint, hinges and door hardware with paint over them, a used front door repainted to match our home. It’s what I can’t see that worries me. So far we have ran into two ceiling fans that were wired incorrectly and installed improperly. Had the fans been wired correctly, the probability of the fans falling from the ceiling were high, so said an electrician who properly installed and wired the units nearly a month after we moved in. The other electrical issue was an outlet wired backwards in the closet, which housed the smart panel.

This past Friday, I walked outside to grab a craft beer from the Coyote 21″ outdoor refrigerator. Upon opening the unit, warm water pooled on the bottom and all the beer was warm, the fridge had stopped working. Frustrated, I swore up a storm at not having cold beer, but more so because this is just another problem we now must face. The temporary solution, as I wait for an answer from DeNova, which I highly doubt will come Tuesday, was to move the beer into a ice filled cooler.

mini_fridgeUpon closer inspection, after moving the fridge out from under the counter, the installation looked sketchy at best. What appeared out of place was an orange 3-outlet adapter plugged into the outlet. This was how I found the refrigerator powered, connected to this adapter.

Out of curiosity, I consulted the owner’s manual and went through the installation and troubleshooting guide.  Reading through the installation two items stood out under ‘WARNING’: “The refrigerator should not be located next to ovens, grills or other sources of high heat. The refrigerator must be installed with all electrical, water and drain connections in accordance with state and local codes. A standard electrical supply (115 V AC only, 60 Hz), properly grounded in accordance with the National Electrical Code and local codes and ordinances is required.”

While I am not an electrician, I consulted a respected friend who is and asked him, “Is this to code?” His response wasn’t surprising, “No. That wire should not be ran in the same hole as that pipe, the Romex is unprotected below 7 feet, this should have a box in the wall with sheet rock. Otherwise the installation should have been done in MC (metal clad cable) but still the wire needs it’s own hole.” This just emphasizes that fact that I fear living in the home because of what I cannot see.

I continued on and started troubleshooting. Just as the image illustrates, I found the unit still plugged in, so I ruled that out. I confirmed the BBQ lit using the electric starter, as both are plugged into the same outlet. I reset the circuit breaker, tripping out both breakers labelled ‘kitchen’ but to no avail, the refrigerator remained off. Finally, I did confirm the temperature control was set not set to the ‘OFF’ position.

Since there has been absolutely no movement on behalf of DeNova, I am ready to escalate our ongoing problems. The City of Oakley will be contacted on Tuesday regarding the possibility of a code violation by DeNova. After speaking to a high school friend of mine, who just happens to be an attorney, he will be receiving a copy of the purchase contract to see what legal avenues we could potentially pursue. I have started writing up a rough draft to Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side to see if the media would like to see get a piece of the action and expose DeNova for the poor quality control. Finally an e-mail to the owner of DeNova Homes, not that I expect any response or reaction, but more to prove DeNova fails when it comes to their “commitment to quality and integrity.”

Put Up or Shut Up

This is the week my wife and I have been waiting on since prior to closing escrow our new DeNova home. If you have following along, things haven’t gone well after writing our deposit checks and selecting our upgrades at their design center. Our initial walk through with the warranty manager was less than acceptable, which required a second walk through a week later, the result was still less than satisfactory. Many items on our punch list were not addressed or corrected and still more required repairs.

What we should have done suspended closing escrow and forced the hand of DeNova, but we were in a bind because of our move out date at the home we were renting. Begrudgingly, we signed the closing documents after talking it over with our realtor. We had a copy of the initial walk through signed by the warranty manager, which would allow some leverage to get something done.

Since closing I have sent 4 emails (read #1, read #2) requesting service, detailing all the current issues with accompanying images to show the flaws, unsatisfactory work and problems we want addressed. Their detailer did stop by however after a walk through with my wife, he felt the job was too big and would require a crew to fix the list of issues.

I feel everything I have wrote about DeNova is fair, even going as far to hashtag #denovahomes and #dontbuydenova. Some might consider me boarding crazy, but as of today, 38 days later only 2 out of 63 items have been addressed. Not sure how ANY company sees that as good customer service. Their canned responses on Twitter, their seemingly “don’t care” attitude speaks volumes. However, I am willing to give them one more chance to make right, which comes this week as the outstanding issues will be addressed.

Since that time my wife and I have spoke to some of neighbor, who, like us have recently moved in. Javier, across the street has some of the same issues we face, to date nothing has been accomplished by the warranty manager. In fact, he hasn’t been very easy to get a hold of, so the story goes. Next to us, Nate, met him last month and talked to him again on Sunday, inquiring about their walk through.

Like us and Javier, he hasn’t been impressed with DeNova Homes to date. The walk through yielded quite a bit of blue tape and some of the similar problems, such as fans and switches not working. He went as far to call DeNova and speak to some female manager, who drove out in her uber expensive Mercedes, but obviously didn’t know the details to his loan or closing information. It seems this is becoming a standard and poor practice as witnessed now by three separate families living within earshot of each other.

As I am reminded by my realtor, I must give DeNova a chance to fix the problems and have remained rather quiet. Still we continue to see more problems. There is some question as to the proper appliances in our kitchen. The range seems to be an updated piece, but the microwave and dishwasher are entry level pieces. This was brought forward by the warranty manager to my wife. None of the tile on the floors or our kitchen back splash were sealed. Huh? $5200 back splash and they can’t seal the grout? Did we not spend enough on it? Or like our list of discrepancies, it was missed.

To be honest I am not sure what it will take, to make me a happy homeowner. As of now, we haven’t enjoyed our home, it’s been a scene out of The Money Pit, with every day a nice item for our list. DeNova’s website talks about “quality and integrity” and even CEO, Dave Sanson is committed “to providing complete customer satisfaction.” Guess he hasn’t read my response on the DeNova Welcome Survey. Needless to say, it was not positive, nor was there anything I saw that represented “quality” or “integrity” and as a customer I am not satisfied…yet.

We are not asking for compensation or the moon. We are simply asking to fix our home, as it should have been prior to moving in. A punch list with 63 items tells me their quality control sucks! Nate echoed this sentiment to me as well during his walk through. We are well aware, as we were told by a DeNova representative, “you didn’t purchase a custom home.” Hopefully something positives comes out of this debacle by Friday. Not sure what a crazed homeowner will do when pushed to his limits.